Monday, November 14, 2011

#$500BFCash #Giveaway Ends 11/23 Rafflecopter

This Giveaway organized and brought to you by A Well Being and The Busy Woman’s Guide to Surviving Motherhood

Need a Little Extra Spending Money this Holiday Season – How about a LOT? Enter to win $500 Cash (via PayPal). Several Bloggers and Businesses have joined together to make your Black Friday the best yet!

Using the Rafflecopter below – all you have to do is “Like”, Follow, Subscribe and/or tweet as directed. You can do all or just some of the entries. Please note that all entries are subject to verification and must be complete (this especially applies to email subscription – you must confirm your subscription for it to count).

The $500 Black Friday Cash Giveaway starts on Monday November 14th, 2011 12:01AM EST and ends on Wednesday November 23rd, 2011 11:59AM EST

Here is a list of all Participating Blogs and Businesses:

The Busy Woman’s Guide to Surviving Motherhood
A Well Being
It Works - Jessica Pena
Thrifty Divas
Multitasking – All Day, Everyday…
Sapphire Says It All
Mamalou’s Gems
Sprinkle Me Pink
Indiana Coupon Savers
Debs Dealz
Spilled Milkshake
Learn How to Crochet
Learn How to Make Bows
Debras Dollars
Music and Mommies
Pink Dandy Chatter
A Traveling Thought
Sweet Peas & Buddies
Newly Wed, Newly Bred
It Works! - Desirea Garcia
Burning Moon

Best of Luck! Open Internationally – all you need is a PayPal ID to receive payment!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Great Deals week of 10/30/11

I had a great day at Walgreen's yesterday!  I did 3 transactions and got a bunch of stuff I will actually use!  So anyway here is what I did:

Transaction #1-
(2) Crest Pro-Health 4 oz. toothpaste 2/$7
(2) Ricola Dual Action Cough Drops $2 ea.
         Total: $11.00
Coupons:  (2) $1/1 Crest toothpaste MQ
                (1) B1G1 free Ricola cough drops 
                (1) $3 RR I had left over from last week

I paid $4.85 out of pocket and received $5 RR for the toothpaste and $2 RR for the Ricola

(1) Pantene 12.6 oz Shampoo 2/$7 so $3.50
(1) Pantene 12.6 oz Conditioner 2/$7 so $3.50
(1) Nivea Body Wash 16.9 oz. $3.99
(3) Hunt's tomato sauce 3/$1 with in ad Q
Coupons:  (1)$1/1 Nivea women's body wash
                 (1)$3/2 Pantene Product
                 (1) $5 RR from previous transaction
                 (1) $2 RR from previous transaction

I paid $1.84 out of pocket and received (2) $2 RR for Pantene and Nivea

Transaction #3-
(2) Crest Pro Health 4 oz. toothpaste 2/$7
(3) Hunt's tomato sauce 3/$1 with in ad Q
(3) single packs Trident gum $0.69 with in ad Q so $2.07

Coupons:  (1) $1/1 crest toothpaste
                 (1) $.75/1 Crest toothpaste
                 (1) $1/3 Trident gum
                 (1) $2 RR from previous transaction

I paid $4.86 out of pocket and received (1) $5 RR for Crest 

I then used that $5 RR from Transaction #3 towards 3 Sunday papers. So in the end I got approx $39 (sale prices)  or $60 (reg. price) worth of product for $13 and I still have a $2 RR reward to use later!  Not bad huh?

Now, if you still have any of those $8/2 Covergirl cosmetics head on over to CVS...this really only works if you have 4 of these coupons:

  Buy (8) CoverGirl blushes $4.99 they are B1G1 half off.  This adds up to $30 and with $32 worth of coupons you pay NOTHING and you get a $10 gift card!  That is an AWESOME deal!

I hope you have a Happy Halloween and Happy MONDAY!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Great Deals This Week 10/24/2011

You all know I think couponing can be very beneficial for the pocket book but I have realized recently that I need to rethink buying everything that happens to be a good deal.  I mean, do I really need to buy a ton of diaper wipes when none of my kids are in diapers (although there are many other uses for diaper wipes, they would dry out before I ever got around to using them)?  Or contact lens cleaner when no one in my family wears contacts?  I think not!  So I have committed myself to only buy things that I will use unless it is going to be a money maker.  Here are some things that caught my eye yesterday while going through various websites, sales flyers, and the newspaper that I will be taking advantage of:

Wal-Mart:  Axe shower gel, 12 oz.  $3.99
                  Use B1G1 Free Axe Shower Gel Coupon
                  Final price: $1.99 each when you buy 2

Walgreen's:  Kleenex Cool Touch Tissues, 40 shts.  $1.50
                    Get $1.00 in Register Rewards when you buy 2
                    Use (2) $.50/1 Kleenex Cool Touch Cpn.
                    You will pay $2.00 out of pocket but will receive the $1.00 in RR making the final price $.50                        each when buying two.
                   Colgate Dental Care, ProClinical, or Total Advance 4 oz. toothpaste $3.00
                   Get $4.00 RR when you buy two
                   Use (2) $.75/1 Colgate Total, Max Fresh, or Sensitive
                   or (2) $.50/1 Colgate toothpaste
                   You will pay $4.50 or $5.00 out of pocket depending which coupons you uses and will receive $4.00 in RR making the final price either $.25 or $.50 each when you buy two.

                    Old El Paso Taco Shells $.99
                     use $.50/1 El Paso product
                    Final price $.49

There were some great deals in the Safeway flyer as well but I threw it out before writing any of it down so take a look at the Nature Valley, Kettle Chips, Starbuck's Frappucino 4 packs for some great deals if you have coupons from the paper and the Safeway flyer!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mix & Match

 Okay, so I kinda missed posting yesterday due to technical difficulties.  But the good news is today you get both cleaning and indulging!  I actually think this topic could be considered both.  Anyway, you know those glass jar candles?  You are nodding your head right?  I really hope you don't throw those away after  the candle burns out that would be such a waste!  The jars and containers from your jar candles can be used for so many different things.  We use them to contain cotton balls, q-tips, flossers, bath salts, decorations (i.e. shells-see pictures), spices, buttons, pens, etc. My favorite candles are the ones from Bath & Body Works.  They smell great and the containers are awesome, my husband and I usually pick up a few when they go on sale.  Michael's also has good candles for great prices, if you can get them on clearance all the better!  You might however do you get the wax out?  Well this is my husbands special secret but I'm gonna tell you anyway!

When you are at the end of the candle put on some latex gloves or use a dish towel to keep your hands from burning (be very careful!).  While the wax is still in liquid form pour out as much as you can.  Then, take a dry paper towel and wipe the remaining wax out.  This all must be done fairly quickly because if the wax hardens you'll end up having to scrape it out or I suppose you could heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds as long as the container is microwave safe. I will usually throw them in the dishwasher at this point just to make sure there isn't any lingering residue (please only do this when there is no more wax in the container, I would imagine you might ruin your dishwasher otherwise.) Now your candle holders are ready for decorative and/or utilitarian uses!

The containers with silver lids are from BBW candles.

Candles from Michael's used for cotton balls and flossers.

Fanfiction rec of the week:  Worth the Burn by My-Bella
A night of Halloween trickery & secrets leads to some unexpected treats for Bella. Will this night of debauchery be a one time occurrence? Or will Bella & Edward risk the burn and attempt a relationship? Rated "M" for mature language & situations.

I figured since we are getting close to Halloween I would recommend a Halloween fic.  This story has some humor, lots of mis-communication, and of course love! Enjoy.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Countdown to Christmas Giveaway Linky - GIFTS ONLY

Hard to believe that we are ready to start Counting Down to Christmas, but if you are a smart shopper and want to get something for everyone on your list, you better start looking now! And what better way to get someone something better or more than your budget affords you than to win it? OutnumberedMama (from Guide to Surviving Motherhood) and Multi Mommi (from Multitasking - All Day, Everyday) are hosting a GIFTS ONLY Giveaway Linky that will stay live through Dec. 24th. So if you have a giveaway that would make a great gift (and be real people - no one really wants cleaning supplies under their tree ;), please link it up below. Come back any time between now and 12/24 to add your giveaways. *We will do our best to delete expired giveaways.
Giveaway contest are a great way to earn Christmas gifts.  My sister's blog The Guide is hosting a Christmas gift giveaway where she will be reviewing and giving away great gifts for the holidays.  Right now she is giving away a Chugginton die cast set which looks great for a boy over the age of 3.  Check it out here and enter to win.  Also, check out the other contests she has going on.  I will be letting you know when new giveaways become available.  Good Luck!


Friday, October 7, 2011

Fun Fall Family Stuff!

Fall is absolutely my favorite time of year.  I love the changing color of the leaves,  the crispness in the air, the fact that most of my kids are in school for part of the day.  One of my favorite things to do this time of year is visit Apple Hill.  Apple Hill is a mountain side community of farms and orchards in Northern California and fall is the best time of year to visit as far as I am concerned!  There are craft fairs, fruit stands, pumpkin patches, train rides, wineries, Christmas tree farms, and of course APPLES!  If you have something like this nearby please take advantage of it.  It is fun for the whole family, supports local agriculture, and provides beautiful photo opportunities.  Also be on the lookout in your local paper for fall festivals in your area.  Many times these are free events and what a better way to get out of the house!  If you are in my area and haven't been to Apple Hill check them out here.


It's Raining Let's Make Chili!

The weather is cooling down and it happens to be raining today.  To me this all spells comfort food.  I actually make this chili recipe year round because not only is it good on its own it is great with BBQ, on baked potatoes, chili dogs, etc.  It is also a recipe that can be multiplied quite easily for parties!  My mother-in-law taught me this recipe and her mother-in-law taught her.  Hopefully she won't be upset that I am sharing with you! you go:

1 lb. ground beef
1 can pinto beans
1 can ranch style or chili beans
12 oz. salsa
chili powder to taste

Brown the ground beef until fully cooked.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until heated through.

See?  It is SO easy!  And it tastes great!  You can easily substitute other ingredients such as ground turkey or pork for the beef,  Mexican style diced tomatoes for the salsa, or you can even add corn.  Sometimes I just have a bowl with a bit of shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream and sometimes we use it to make burritos.  I hope you enjoy this chili as much as my family does!


A/N:  I think I screwed up the scheduling thing on here because this was supposed to post yesterday...sorry.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Applying Eyeliner Who Me???

Okay, so I think we have established that I am not a girly girl who wears make-up and has perfectly coiffed hair every day.  That does NOT mean I don't like to look nice for special occasions and when I am out and about for lunch, dinner, movies, etc.  I am also really cheap and purchasing beauty products is not very high on my priority list so you can imagine how excited I was when my sister had an extra Glambox by Smashbox from her recent giveaway.  My daughter and I had a mini-makeover session immediately and we both love the whole line.  The mascara is great giving length, volume, and color without feeling heavy or clumping, but my favorite item was the Jet Set Waterproof eyeliner in Vamp.  It is a cream based eyeliner that is applied with a brush.  I was a little skeptical at first because I suck at applying liquid eyeliner and figured this would be a similar situation.  I was so wrong!  It went on very smoothly and since it is a cream/powder you are not dealing with the harsh lines of liquid liner.  Even my daughter was impressed with my eyeliner applying skills!  Another thing I noticed about SmashBox cosmetics is that it feels good and light on my skin I hate that feeling of heavy makes me want to wash my face all day long.  So if you get a chance, go check them out on FaceBook just enter SmashBox into the search function.

Fan-fic rec of the week:  Trust, Loyalty, Commitment by belli486

Bella, Director of her church'e Afterschool Program, has been faithful to her commitment to remain a virgin until she is married.  Tallahassee Police Officer, Edward Cullen's charm and sex appeal severely challenges her resolve. AU/AH Rated M for adult content

This is a great story dealing with so many different issues like faith, religion, interracial marriage/relationships, and falling in love (of course).  There is also an amount of mystery/crime due to a stalker.  While there is some smut it is very tastefully done and an integral part of the story...I mean Bella is 23 and a virgin.  Take a look this story is sweet, intriguing, and eye opening.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Spring Cleaning

I am sure most of you have heard the idea of Spring Cleaning and yes I do subscribe to the notion of some deep cleaning now and then.  Early October is also a good time to get some deep cleaning done as well.  Many of us have family and friends who visit during the holidays and how embarrassing is it when you pull out your sofa sleeper for a guest and there are food crumbs lodged in there!  Or something rolls under the couch and your guest has an allergy attack trying to retrieve it due to all the dust bunnies collected under there.  Or when you have guests over for Thanksgiving dinner and you pull out your turkey platter or gravy boat only to find they are covered in dust and possibly a dead bug...gross! This is why I take some extra time over the first couple of weeks in October to get all those places I don't get to on a daily or even weekly basis.  Here is a list of things I plan on getting done over the next two weeks:

vacuuming out an spot cleaning the couches
moving furniture and vacuuming/mopping underneath
dusting and wiping clean all of the air vents
cleaning out and wiping down the insides of the kitchen cabinets and drawers
same in the bathrooms
cleaning and wiping down the floor boards throughout the house
paint touch-ups
getting rid of all the too small, ratty, summer clothes in preparation for cooler weather clothing
eradicating broken, outgrown toys in preparation for holiday gifts

Having all of this done well in advance of holidays visitors and/or parties will make those visits so much less stressful and you can concentrate on entertaining your guest instead of worrying about dust bunnies and dirty serving dishes.  What are some things you do in preparation for the holiday season?


Monday, October 3, 2011

Time to Clean Out Those Expired Coupons!

So if you don't already know, the October Proctor & Gamble PriceSaver came out yesterday.  This means last months coupons are expired.  So take the time, go through your coupons, and trash all of the expired ones.  This also helps to make space for all the new coupons.  I don't know if it was a nationwide thing or not but there were some extra inserts in our local paper (SacBee) this weekend including a Pepsico one.  

If you are new to couponing may I give you some advice?  Get a big D-ring binder, some dividers, and some baseball card sheet protectors.  Since I have taken to buying several Sunday papers it has really helped to have my coupons organized this way.  It makes the coupons easy to see at a glance and keeping them organized by category makes it even easier to find a particular coupon.  This is helpful when standing in the middle of the store with a couple of kids hanging off the cart begging for toys and candy!  You never know when you might run across some clearance items or an unadvertised sale, so ALWAYS bring your coupons with you.  Here is a list of categories I use in my coupon binder:

restaurant coupons
grains (this includes rice, pasta, bread, cereal)
baking supplies
canned and boxed dry goods
medicines & vitamins
health and beauty ( I separate within this section by dental, shaving, makeup & facial treatments, hair care, body treatments, personal products)
household ( I separate with in this section by (paper goods, office supplies, fragrance)
cleaning products ( separated by laundry, dish-washing, bathroom, kitchen, misc.) 
I hope this helps with your coupon organization.  If you have a tip please leave a comment.  HAPPY MONDAY!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New on DVD and FF Rec

The newest Transformer movie, Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, is being released this Friday, Sept. 30th.  I have to say, when I saw this movie in the theater I was really impressed.  I know it is not very girly to say but the effects were stellar and the new female lead is much better than the old one.  Here is a list of places and prices where you can get the movie on Friday:

                   2-Disc B-ray+DVD = $19.99
                                                                        DVD = $16.99
                                    Target:   2-Disc B-ray+DVD = $20.00
                                                                        DVD = $16.00
                                Walmart:    2-Disc B-ray+DVD = $19.96
                                                                        DVD = $16.96
                                Safeway:    2 Disc B-ray+DVD = $23.99
                                                                        DVD = $16.99
                   Safeway is offering (1) 2-liter of Pepsi
                   when you buy the movie between 9/30/11-10/7/11

Fan-Fiction Rec of the Week:     Work in Progress by araeo
This is a Twilight fic and is all-human, alternate universe.  Bella, Edward and the usual suspects are adults living in Seattle.  They hit it off after a klutzy accident and E awakens B's ovaries, who never hesitate to voice their pervy opinion in B's head.  Rated M for language and lemons.

This story is hilarious as Bella is in constant conversation with her ovaries in regards to the sexy, Dr. Edward.    
Read this one for a good laugh and some sexy times remember lemons = sex so if you are not 18 or into that sort of thing please do not read!      

HAPPY WEDNESDAY!  Do something nice for yourself :)                                          

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Household Uses For Lemons

Lemons are common place in my household especially when the tree in our backyard is ready to be picked.   While there are many uses for lemons in cooking and baking there are also many ways to use lemons to help keep your kitchen clean and smelling fresh.  So the next time you use a lemon to flavor your favorite dish don't throw the rind away try these lemony fresh tips.

Tea Kettle: fill your teakettle with water and add a handful of lemon rinds.  Bring to a boil then turn of the heat.  Let it sit for about an hour, drain, and rinse well.  This will get rid of those mineral deposits.
Coffee Pot:  (not the machine but the carafe)  add ice, salt, and lemon rinds to the empty pot.  Swirl the carafe for a minute or two, then drain and rinse well.  This will leave your pot nice and sparkly.
Garbage Disposal:  when I am done with a lemon whether I have used it for cooking or cleaning I never throw them in the trash can.  I chop them up and throw them in the garbage disposal.  This cleans the disposal and makes the kitchen smell great.  I also do this with orange peels.
Microwave:  I always feel really weird about using chemical cleaners for the inside of the just doesn't seem right.  Try this instead;  fill a microwave safe bowl half full with water and add  some lemon rinds. Heat on high for about 5 minutes until the water is boiling and condensation has accumulated on the side, top, and bottom of the microwave.  Very carefully remove the hot bowl and use a cloth to wipe away the splatters.

I hope these tips are useful to you, let me know how they worked!  Have a HAPPY TUESDAY!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Great Deals and Coupon Tip

There are some great deals happening this week on groceries.  Safeway is having a huge stock up sale.  If you purchase at least 8 of the 3,000 items included in the sale you will receive an additional $.50 off each item.  Some of those items have coupons available for additional savings.  Here are some of the deals I took advantage of (only valid through 9/27):

Philidelphia Cream Cheese (2 sm. tubs):   Reg. price: 6.98
                                                               Card Svgs:   .40 -
                                                               J4U eCpn: 3.29 -
                                                               Store Cpn: 3.29 -
                                                               Mfg. Cpn : 1.00 -
So, I ended up making $1.00 on this but I am not sure I was suppose to. I am not all that knowledgeable on the J4U eCoupons and how they interact with other coupons but I was watching when the cashier scanned all of my coupons and he did not have to manually enter anything.  Essentially I had 2 B1G1F coupons and a $1/2 coupon. 

Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, Golden Grahams (1box ea.):   Reg. price:    $12.57
                                                                                                         Card Svgs:        6.90 -
                                                                                                         Mfg. Cpn :        1.00 -
That is three boxes of cereal for $4.67 or $1.55 each!

Kleenex Tissues (2 boxes):   Reg. Price: $3.98
                                            Store Cpn:  2.00 -
                                            Mfg. Cpn :    .50-

Two boxes of Kleenex for $1.48 or $.75 each!

Here is my coupon tip of the week:  When sitting down to clip your coupons make it easier by making the double paged inserts into single paged ones.  The pages will separate easily if you tear down the center fold. This gives you a small piece of paper to deal with while cutting.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall is in the air...why is it still in the 90s?

The kids are back in school and all is quiet on the home-front...for a couple of hours at least.  Fall is my favorite time of year for a number of reasons.  I LOVE fall decorations, baking cookies and other treats, the generosity that tends to flow in people during this time of year, trips to the pumpkin patch, the fall leaves, the cooling weather, I could go on and on. Right now though I am a bit you want to know why? I am frustrated because I am fully ready to bake, decorate, collect fall leaves and right about now it is 95 degrees outside!  If fall is my favorite season Indian summer is my least favorite! It is that time of year when mother nature teases us into a week's worth of cooler weather and then BAM! it is hotter than Hades again.  So since the weather is warm and the growing season for summer vegetables is coming to an end, my family and I will be clearing the garden from the deteriorating cucumber, tomato, and green bean plants to prepare it for some fall spinach, lettuce, and snap peas this weekend. 

Our back yard garden has been the source of much family bonding.  Gardening provides so many learning opportunities including learning about the environment, sustainability, growth cycles, good bugs/bad bugs, health and nutrition, working together and so much more.  We have a small back yard so we use the square foot gardening method.  If you have not heard of this you need to check it out!  We have been able to grow so many fruits and veggies in a VERY small area.  You can learn more about square foot gardening in Mel Bartholomew's book All New Square Foot Gardening or on the SFG website .  Square foot gardening can be used year round (yes, even in a snowy winter!) so go take a look! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What to do with those berries?

When I was at the grocery store the other day they had raspberries on sale buy 1 get 2 free.  I bought them of course but I knew I wouldn't be able to use them all before they went bad.  Then my amazing sister reminded me that I could freeze them!  This will work with most berries, peaches, grapes, melons, and more.  All you have to do is cut up your fruit to the desired size,  line a cookie sheet with plastic wrap, arrange the fruit in a single layer, and put in the freezer.  Once the fruit is frozen you can transfer it to freezer bags for later use.  This method ensures you don't end up with a giant blob of frozen fruit!

This is my favorite buttermilk raspberry muffin recipe from :


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries*


  1. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg and buttermilk; mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in berries. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes or until browned.


  • *Editor's Note: Frozen berries may be used if thawed and well drained.

    This recipe is super easy to make and you can substitute other fruit and berries for the raspberries and add small chunks of cream cheese for a different flavor.  I also like to add a crumb topping before baking by mixing 1/3 cup packed brown sugar and 1 tablespoon flour, then add 1 tablespoon of cold butter and mix with a fork or you hands until crumbly.

    Give it a try!!  HAPPY THURSDAY!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nail Polish and Reading

I don't go and get pedicures very often...usually only in the late spring when I start wearing sandals and flip flops again, but I do like to keep my toes polished.  Every season the cosmetic companies come out with new colors so I like to pick up a couple.  This weekend at Walgreen's I picked up a few new shades of Revlon's Top Speed nail polish and got a pretty good deal.  They have Revlon on sale 40% off and if you spend $10 or more you get $3 back in register rewards.  There are also some $1 off coupons available out there (my Wags had a tear pad in the store at the cosmetics counter) so after sale price, coupons and register rewards you could potentially pay $1.89 each when you buy three.  That is a pretty good deal for some good quality polish yeah? At the very least go and check out the new shades for Fall!

Fan-fiction has become an obsession of mine in the last two years and while I wish I had a knack for creative writing I really don't so I stick to reading. There is fan-fiction for everything from books to movies to TV shows.  I am particular to Twilight fan-fiction myself and would like to use this venue to recommend/review whatever I happen to be reading.  While there are fics available for every age group I tend to gravitate towards the more "mature" selections.  Saying that, most of my rec's and reviews will be in that category. Right now I am currently reading A Simple Twist of Fate by WellMadeMistake over at .  It is a short and sweet, all-human, love story between college-age Edward and Bella. Here is the summary from the website:

AU, All Human Edward has moved cross country from Washington to Florida to attend school after ending a nasty relationship, only to find himself instantly attracted to a beautiful brunette he sees in traffic. Rated M for language and lemons.

FYI: AU=alternate universe; lemons=sex scenes

Check out A Simple Twist of Fate here.

Have a HAPPY WEDNESDAY and do at least one thing to indulge yourself!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Shiny Sinks? my favorite task.  Yeah, not really.  As I've said before cleaning is not my favorite thing.  I try to avoid it at all cost.  The problem is that I can't stand to live in a dirty house.  I came across a website one day that kinda changed my life: .  This woman has amazing ideas on how to keep your home clean and clutter free without spending all of your time cleaning.  Her method is based in the concept of spending 15-30 minutes at a time on a task whether it is cleaning the kitchen, organizing your bills, or scrubbing your toilets.  I found that if I set a timer and know that I am only going to spend 20 minutes going through my sons' room, it doesn't seem like such an overwhelming task.  The Flylady has a daily email you can subscribe to that presents a task for the day which is great to get you started.  After several weeks of doing this I learned a lot and was able to create a schedule that fit my family's needs.  Flylady also has a section called baby steps that really helped to get the ball rolling for me and I would like to share the first baby-step with you.  This is something I now do once a is an excerpt from :

Shiny Sink 101

Note: Follow this procedure the first time you shine your sink. You do NOT need to follow this method everyday. Just keep up the shine with a little window cleaner.
Dear Friends,
I want you to smile from ear to ear when you gaze upon your shiny sink.
I have heard every excuse in the world. Even old sinks can look new again with a little elbow grease.
Here is how you do it:

  1. Take all the dishes out of the sink.
  2. Run some very hot water into the sink. Fill to the rim. Only do one side at a time. Then, pour a cup of household bleach into the hot water. Let it sit for 1 hour. Now, pull the plug with a pair of tongs. If you don't have tongs, then scoop some of the water out of the sink into the other sink and use your hand to pull the plug (wear gloves and don't get the bleach-water on your clothes).
  3. Rinse your sink well.
  4. Use some cleanser (Comet, Ajax, or Baking Soda) and scrub your sink. Ensure you rinse ALL of the cleanser from the sink.
  5. Take a sharp edge and clean around the rim of the sink, just like you would clean dirt out from under your fingernails.
  6. Clean around the faucets too. You may need an old toothbrush or dental floss.
  7. Now, get out your window cleaner, I use Windex, and give it a good shine.
  8. If you still don't like the way it looks, then you could try some car wax. Just know in your heart that you have cleaned it very well now and it doesn't have to be perfect. Our perfectionism is what got us in this situation in the first place.
  9. Every time you run water in your sink, take your clean dishtowel and dry it out (I lay out a clean one, every night with my before bedtime routine). Before you know it, you will be doing this everytime you leave your kitchen. The rest of the family will too. No more water spots. You will have a clean and shiny sink.
  10. Don't have a fit if someone doesn't take as much pride in your sink as you do. It is very easy to fix. You have already done the hard part. You will never have to go through this process again. Daily maintenance will keep it looking this way all the time. Nasty hurtful word are not as easy to repair. Just be sure and tell your family what you are trying to do. They will think you have gone crazy.
  11. If you don't have a dishwasher, don't worry. A dishwasher is just a dirty dish disposal. Clean out a place under your sink and put a dishpan in there. Teach your family, that instead of putting their dirty dishes and glasses in the sink, place them into the dish pan. Get into the habit of putting your dishes away as soon as they have been washed and are dry. No more leaving the dish drying rack on the counter or in the sink. Put it away under the sink when you have finished. If your old one is nasty, you may want to soak it in the sink full of bleach water at the same time you soak the sink or go buy a new set.
  12. To insure that your family remembers this, put a note in the sink. It will get their attention and remind them where to put the dishes. Be patient! They have never been taught either. It is going to take some practice.
Now if you have a stainless steel sink, I recommend all of the above directions with one extra instruction added: after you soak your sink, rinse well, and use SOS pads to scrub it. This will buff the finish. It will look like new.
If you still can't get it to shine after the Windex, put a light coat of lemon oil or olive oil on it. I mean just a tiny bit on a cloth and rub it. This will make you smile. Some people have had very good results from Bar Keepers Friend.
Go Shine Your Sink!
Last note: ensure you don't mix cleansers like Comet, etc. with Windex (or other ammonia based cleaners), you can create dangerous gases! It is worth repeating: rinse well between each step.

  Give it a shot, you won't be disappointed!  The FlyLady also has a book called Sink Reflections that can be purchased HERE.  Next week:  homemade household they work?  HAPPY TUESDAY!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Coupons....Worth it?

All of my adult life I have debated whether it is worth the time and effort to scour store ads and coupon books trying to find the best price on cheese.  I've wondered if I drive the fifteen minutes it takes to get to Wal-Mart to save a few bucks am I really saving more than I'm spending in gas when Safeway is just two minutes up the street.  Do I really want to change my 15 year standard of buying Prego brand marinara to Barilla just because it is on sale and I have a coupon for it?  Now that I have a family of five to feed, which is getting more and more expensive as my toddlers have turned into growing boys and a preteen girl who are always hungry I have had to reevaluate my views on coupons and sales. 
A few weeks ago after seeing the results of my sister's almost obsession with coupons I decided to give it a go.  She turned me onto a few websites and I took it from there.  I visited a website called Wild for Wags (Wags=Walgreen's) and discovered that not only does this woman post all kinds of great deals and links to coupons that can be printed on the web, every Saturday she posts a buying scenario.  Her scenarios are very detailed and even include links to certain coupons, prices, and which issue of the coupon booklets you can find certain coupons in.  She also runs a site very similar site that deals with Target. This was a great way to dip my toe into the world of coupons.  I was so excited when I walked out of Walgreen's that first time and I had a box of Estroven that I actually made $2 on.  I kept looking over my shoulder thinking someone was going to follow me outside and tell me I had done something wrong...either because I left the store with essentially more money than I came in with or because I'm not old enough to even need Estroven.  As I said earlier, I was excited I had to tell my husband, who looked at me like I was nuts and asked if maybe I could find deals like that on stuff we actually needed, my mother, who wanted the Estroven, and my sister, who I think might have shed a tear at my succumbing to her corruption.
So is it worth it?  I think if you can stay organized and sane, spending time scouring the sales ads and coupons for good deals are worth it.  Driving the fifteen minutes to Wal-Mart? Well, if I am going to buy a large amount and will be saving at least $10 buying the same items from a closer store, then yes it's worth it.  Ditching Prego for Barilla?  Jury is still out on that one ;P 
Next Week:  Tips on how to get started with coupons including organization and time management.  HAPPY MONDAY!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Betty Crocker Back to School Giveaway

OutnumberedMama has a great giveaway over on The Guide  provided by BoxTops for Education and Betty Crocker.  Go check it out and enter to win a great little baking kit form Betty Crocker!  GOOD LUCK!

Family Fridays Intro

Family time is so important, whether spending time at home playing games or heading out for a vacation, we need that connection to one another in order to thrive.  We don't have a lot of extra money so it is important for me to find things to do that are as cheap as they are fun.  Amazingly enough there are tons of things to do that cost little or no money.  I know my main goal as a parent is to raise children who are confident and not afraid to go after the things they want in life.  There are so many things working against us, especially the media.  It is important to stay involved in our childrens' lives, to guide, and reassure.  The children are our future right? (yeah that was totally corny but it's still true)
Friday posts will consist of ideas for fun outings, seasonal fun, gift ideas, parenting tips, book/movie reviews for children, and of course product reviews and giveaways coming soon!  Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cooking Up Thursdays Intro

Cooking...I really enjoy cooking.  Unlike the way I feel about cleaning, cooking and baking give me a great sense of accomplishment especially when the people I am cooking for show their appreciation.  Being a mom can be an often times thankless job, however making a family member's favorite meal and hearing the thanks can relieve some of that feeling of being under appreciated.  There is nothing like when your 6 year old exclaims  in happiness when his favorite of spaghetti and meatballs is placed in front of him at the dinner table; it's the best! Involving children in the cooking can help build self esteem as well.  My daughter just lights up when we bake some homemade cookies and her daddy tells her how good they are and what a great job she did.  In short, cooking and sharing meals brings families together...we all have to eat right?
Thursday posts will consists of recipes, cooking tips, gardening tips, book/website reviews and recommendations, and soon product reviews and giveaways.  Looking for a tried and true recipe?  Let me know and I'll see what I can find.